January 18, 2011

Delaware Water Gap, NJ. October, 1973

When I was a teacher at a Catholic boys high school in New Jersey during the early 1970s, I made an unlikely friend in the head of the Science Department, Tom, shown here, center, with refreshment and Fu Manchu ’stache (which, I now notice, seated right, I had adopted, as well). Tom had grown up in Brooklyn, was now living near the school, and many afternoons we’d wind up at a bar in nearby Westfield called The Jolly Trolley, where we’d laugh at the expense of others and Tom would regrettably act snotty to one particular waitress for reasons I still can’t figure out. Early one school-free July, he called to say that he was driving to Kalamazoo for a few weeks to work on a funded university project that provided an apartment, and did I want to come? Sure, I had the summer off. I packed, waited for him to pick me up, he never showed. Had I misunderstood? He brushed if off later with a nonchalant, “Oh, I changed my mind.” Um, OK, we were younger then. But not as young as these students whom we took on a Saturday field-trip hike to the Delaware Water Gap at the Garden State’s westernmost border. I love the perspective down to the river in the background, the clothing and haircuts from so many years ago, the easy camaraderie of that bygone time. I wonder who these nice kids grew up to be, what became of Tom.


  1. Kalamazoo? Must have been the summer of 1972 - now ask me how I know...

  2. That hair! That plaid! Those glasses! Just think: even the youngest in that photo would be over 50 and the oldest in the pic would now be nearly ... er ... um ... 40(ish). Say, is it possible that that blue-red flannel shirt was still part of your wardrobe when you moved to Boston?